JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor
SHELBYVILLE, IL — Stew-Stras (24-12) had beaten Neoga twice already. They avoided the 3rd meeting trap in the Dieterich Regional final by winning game 1 in OT and staying strong in game 2, 27-25, 25-21.
"It was a very intense match," said Comet coach Ronda Schlechte. "Each point was a battle. Neoga was able to return most of our hits, so it was a really tough match. Neoga put up a good fight. Our play wasn't as smooth as usual and we seemed to be lacking confidence. I chalk that up to nerves. We kept at it and it paid off in the end."
Neoga had 37 digs as they fended off the Comet frontal attack. Senior hitter Brittani Tabbert took the reins and led Stew-Stras at the net with 10 kills and a block. Kendall Knop followed with eight kills.
Baylee Quast (10) and Becca Schlechte (12) combined to dish out 22 of the 24 assists leading to the 26 Comet kills.
Neoga recorded three aces, while the Comets delivered six.Quast and Knop led with two, each. Neoga had four blocks, as did the Comets.
Stew-Stras (24-12) advances to the Arcola 1A Sectional on Tuesday, playing the winner of the Shiloh Regional, Kansas (Tri-County). Kansas crushed Martinsville in the title match, 25-17, 25-15.
Dieterich 1A Regional Final
Stew-Stras def. Neoga, 27-25, 25-21
Comet stats: Becca Schlechte 5 kills 12 assists, 1 block; Baylee Quast 2 aces, 3 kills, 10 assists; Kendall Knop 2 aces, 8 kills, 1 assist; Brittanit Tabbert 1 ace, 10 kills, 1 block; Morgan Stremming 1 block; Sarah Locke 1 ace; Clara Kaufman 1 assist, 1 block.
Neo stats: Courtney Croy 9 kills, 2 blocks, 1 dig; Jillian Deters 7 kills, 6 digs, 2 blocks; Taylor Gresens4 kills, 2 digs, 2 aces; Demmie Long 1 kill, 19 assists; Mallori Harshman 8 digs, 1 ace; Kellie Kastl 9 digs; Olivia Ott 3 kills, 6 digs; Morgan Partlow 3 digs; Maddie Easton 2 digs.